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Real Friends

Shannon Hale, illus. by LeUyen Pham (First Second)

The fraught, clique-ruled terrain of elementary school is brought to life in Hale’s graphic memoir, with digital cartoons by Pham. Imagination proves to be a form of agency and solace for the writer-in-making.

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The Shadow Cipher

Laura Ruby (Walden Pond)

Ruby’s page-turning puzzle adventure unfolds in a steampunk version of New York City. When siblings Tess and Theo Biedermann learn that their landmark home has been bought by a developer, and will likely be demolished, they embark on an epic treasure hunt.

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Beyond the Bright Sea

Lauren Wolk (Dutton)

Following up her Newbery Honor-winning debut, Wolf Hollow, Wolk weaves a period mystery set in the wilds of the Elizabeth Islands. Orphan Crow is content with her quiet life, until the sight of a fire on a neighboring island sparks a quest to discover her origins.

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Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever.

Edited by Betsy Bird (Viking)

From disastrous road trips to tips for aspiring jokesters, librarian and blogger Bird’s anthology brings together an all-star lineup of female writers, including Cece Bell, Libba Bray, Mitali Perkins, and Raina Telgemeier, in a variety of formats.

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5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior

Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel, illus. by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun (Random House)

Immersive worldbuilding, explosive action, and sharp social insight distinguish this graphic series opener from the Siegel brothers, about a young trio fighting to save five planets from extinction. The key to their salvation lies in lighting five magical beacons.

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Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad)

In the latest novel from the Newbery Honor author, young Clayton copes with the loss of his grandfather and fellow musician, Cool Papa Byrd. His odyssey, set beneath the streets of New York City, brings him closer to the heart of the blues music he loves.

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Tumble & Blue

Cassie Beasley (Dial)

Friendship and fate intertwine as Tumble Wilson and Blue Montgomery set out to undo their ancestors’ curse and face a deadly alligator, in Beasley’s new tale.

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